Friday, February 17, 2006

Manual Automatic Door?

My town hall is a beautiful old building. It was built in the 1880s, has a slate roof, leaded windows and many interesting brick details. As you can see, it even has a turret. It's a sturdy building with character both inside and outside and I could easily spend a whole afternoon photographing it.

A few nights ago I was at a meeting in the town hall. As I left the building through the side door that is shown in the fourth photo here, I saw the signs that are pictured. If you have trouble reading them, you can click on the photo to see a larger image. They read 'Manual/Automatic Door'. Is it me, or does this not really make sense? Aren't the words manual and automatic opposites? I know that the decades, I've spent programming computers have left me a little too literal minded sometime. But, really, it's confusing and seems funny and oxymoronic. I don't think it's trying to make a philosophical statement about the duality of the door. It's a pre-printed sticker so I have to think it's not unique. When I went back to take the photo, I did not actually study the door to determine how it might be automatic. I do remember that when I left the meeting, I pushed on the door and it worked as I expected a door to work. Perhaps there is a button somewhere that a handicapped person would use to open the door automatically. This was not explained in the sign. Thinking about it now, I realize I'll need to return and figure out exactly how it operates. I can say one thing. The sign is not intuitive, at least not to me. The part that makes the most sense is the brass plate that looks like it's been there many years. Without a single word, it's an icon that is intuitive and indicates I should push on it.


  1. Your town hall is a beautiful building.

    I am assuming they mean it can be used manually or you may push a button to automatically open door for wheelchairs. I push my mom and believe me it is not always easy to find that little button. It is a silly sign.


  2. What a gorgeous building! It's in great shape, too. The bricks look nice and clean, not crumbly like old bricks sometimes get. And the walls look nice and straight. All those artsy touches in the details... just wonderful.